I've often seen the advice for breastfeeding a toddler and child-led weaning portrayed as "don't offer, don't refuse".
I don't think I've seen much written on the logic behind this, but I'm assuming that the idea is that the LO knows what they need and will stop asking to nurse (wean) when they are ready.
I've been thinking about this, and based on my experiences with DS I think that the "don't offer, don't refuse" approach is perhaps flawed. At almost two, my DS has a pretty impressive vocabulary and generally does a good job of letting us know what he wants / needs. He is able to tell us he wants to eat, snacks, water, soy milk juice, grapes, crackers, cookies, pasta, bread, fruit, etc.
But he's also only (almost) two and does not yet have complete communication skills. My observation is that my DS uses "mommy milk" (nursing) as a *fall back* when he's hungry/thirsty and either doesn't know exactly what he wants to eat/drink OR when he's really really really hungry/thirsty and too hungry/thirsty to be thinking clearly.
There are times (like yesterday mid-morning) when DS asks for "mommy milk" and I steer him to eating/drinking something else instead. Sometimes this does involve tears from DS, but no different when I tell him things like he needs to put on shoes to go outside or other typical toddler "testing limits" behaviors.
While DS says he *wants* mommy milk, I know that what he *needs* is to get more actual food into his tummy. And once he eats he feels tons better and is smiling and happy again.
This might sound like heresy, but I'm feeling like my role is to help DS recognize when he's hungry / thirsty and help teach him the best ways to communicate that to us. And I don't think that me always "not refusing" to nurse is the best approach to help DS learn to understand what his body is telling him and how to communicate that to us.
I don't want to start a debate (or get flamed) but am interested in others thoughts & experiences.